Flanagan debut as Munster make changes for French trip

Flanagan debut as Munster make changes for French trip

RASSIE Erasmus makes five changes to his Munster side for Sunday’s Champions Cup round one clash with Castres Olympique at Stade Pierre Antoine.

In the forwards, newcomer Mark Flanagan makes his first start for the province and his Champions Cup debut, as he joins the most capped player Billy Holland in the engine room.

Elsehwere, from the side that suffered defeat to Leinster at the Aviva last weekend, there are three introductions to the backline with Simon Zebo returning to take his place at fullback, Darren Sweetnam named on the wing, and Rory Scannell restored to midfield joining Champions Cup debutant Chris Farrell.

Keith Earls is retained on the wing after an impressive seasonal debut last Saturday that saw him score a brace against his interprovincial rivals.

As expected Conor Murray and Tyler Bleyendaal start, with Bleyendaal making the positional switch this week to renew their half-back pairing from last season.

Stephen Archer is introduced to the front row alongside Niall Scannell and Dave Kilcoyne and it’s as you were across the back row with Tommy O’Donnell, captain Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander.

MUNSTER: Simon Zebo; Darren Sweetnam, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Tyler Bleyendaal, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Mark Flanagan, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony Capt., Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander. Replacements: Rhys Marshall, Liam O’Connor, John Ryan, Robin Copeland, Jack O’Donoghue, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Andrew Conway.